Charcoal Production Site Monitoring Service for West Gonja and Sene Districts in Ghana

Period of Performance

In development

A charcoal production field in the Gonja West District of Ghana. Photo credit: SERVIR West Africa

The Charcoal Production Site Monitoring Service is a web-based platform for visualizing the spatial distribution of charcoal production sites, thereby facilitating forest degradation monitoring in the study areas. Very high-resolution imagery from Google Earth and remote sensing data from Landsat 7 and Landsat 8 are used to identify charcoal kilns and the production of tree cover density maps. This information will help guide district-level land use planning and aid in the monitoring of tree cover loss, which is a key component of estimating carbon emissions.


Charcoal production degrades environmental services through forest degradation, soil fertility loss, erosion, biodiversity loss, wildfires, and air quality. In Ghana, like in most West African countries, charcoal is the major fuel for domestic cooking in urban areas, produced by rural communities in areas normally under the administration of traditional and district authorities. These local communities and authorities lack adequate information to address the negative environmental impacts caused by charcoal production. 

In spite of initiatives by non-state actors such as A Rocha and Solidaridad to strengthen community capacity to engage in policy discussions and participate in land use planning, the information gap persists. Addressing this pressing issue requires effective mechanisms for sharing information about charcoal production at the national, district and community level. By bridging the information gap, we can proactively address the adverse impacts of charcoal production and foster a more sustainable approach that balances the needs of both communities and the environment.